Outdoor Lighting

The Best Outdoor Lighting Ideas


Outdoor lighting is a great way to add curb appeal to your home and set the tone for your mood. There are many different options to choose from, so it isn’t hard to find something that suits my home’s particular style.

Having the exterior of your home illuminated can also offer some added security. It is a deterrent to burglars who may try to break in under cover of the night.

Things to Consider When Shopping for Outdoor Fixtures

Since I use my backyard for entertaining and relaxing, I want to be inviting and stylish. I want to be able to kick back and enjoy it even when it is dark outside.

Since there was no light, I had to decide on the best lighting solution for my needs. When choosing the perfect lighting for my backyard patio, there were quite a few things I had to consider, such as:

  • Cost
  • Durability
  • Size
  • Color
  • Style
  • Brightness
  • Wattage
  • Location
  • Type of light source
  • Type of glass
  • Warranty


I also needed to stay within my budget, so whatever lighting I chose had to be affordable. But I didn’t want to have to sacrifice style to save money.

Since there are so many outdoor lighting options to choose from, it wasn’t difficult to find something that worked for my price range yet was still something I love.

Solar Lighting

I also had to consider what type of light I would be using. Solar lighting is convenient because I don’t have to worry about plugging in extension cords. They won’t add to my utility bill, and they are also environmentally-friendly, which is important to me. They are also easier to install since there are many options that do not need to be hardwired into my home.


Durability is a big one because outdoor fixtures are subject to the elements of nature such as wind, snow, hail, rain, and the sun’s harsh rays. All of this wear and tear can cause fixtures to become dull and faded-looking over time and will need to be repainted or replaced eventually.

Since I want low-maintenance landscape lights, they need to be durable enough to withstand the climate well. Certain light fixtures are more forgiving such as antique styles, and actually look better with age.

Unless you are going for the “aged” look, choose fixtures made of materials that will last, such as powder-coated or marine-coated aluminum, which can last as long as seven years. Avoid anything made of PVC composite materials or spun aluminum, which will wear out much faster.

outdoor lighting ideas

LED Lighting

LED lighting is another excellent cost-effective source of light, but it can be quite bright. They are a bit more expensive than regular lightbulbs, but you don’t have to replace them as often, which is nice if you have to drag out the ladder to change the bulbs in your outdoor lighting.

Frosted Glass

I have always loved the look of clean, clear glass fixtures because they let all the light shine through, but they can tend to be harder to clean and keep clean as an outdoor fixture. I personally don’t want to have to clean my outdoor fixtures all the time, so frosted glass seems like an excellent choice for outdoor lighting fixtures.

Frosted glass also offers a softer light, which is better for a patio where you will be hanging out and trying to unmind. Since the frosted glass tends to magnify light I can use a lower wattage to conserve energy, especially when I have many bulbs on my strings of lights.

Location and Purpose

If my fixtures are sheltered somewhat, they will last longer since they will be more protected. So if they are made of a material that wears out more quickly, such as PVC, it is best to install them close to the house or under an awning.

Something to think about is that if you don’t want a light to shine into your windows from your home exterior, you may want to place them between windows rather than directly over them.

When choosing lighting for my back door, I wanted to be considerate of my neighbors. In other words, I didn’t choose a floodlight that would shine in their faces when they went into their backyard since we share a fence. Instead, I chose a bright light that illuminates my back door and slightly into my back yard.

If you don’t like where certain light fixtures have been installed, it is possible to get them moved or even removed. If there are areas of your home that do not have any fixtures, you may want to have some installed. For electrical jobs such as installing new light fixtures, it is best to hire an electrician to do it.

Staircase Landscape Lighting

Pathway Lights

I also wanted light along my path through the garden, so pathway lights were a great option. You can place them as far apart or as close together as you like, and they are solar-powered, so they automatically come on when it gets dark. They also give off a magical ambiance to my garden, creating a calm and relaxing space.

There are many different types of pathway lights, but the most common ones are bollard lights, flush lights, downlights, and garden lights. They are all perfect for illuminating gardens, pathways, and focal points such as a decorative pond or other outdoor features. They are often solar-powered and have a staked base so that they can be easily secured into the lawn. They offer a nice touch of illumination wherever you put them. They also make it possible for me to see my way along my walkway when it is dark outside.

String or Festoon Lights

For my patio, I want soft lighting to relax by and also a little privacy. String lights or festoon lights are a great pick since they are stylish and offer just enough light without being too overbearing.

They need to be attached so they have room to hang down a little, which looks best. A pagoda is ideal because it offers enough sides to attach each end to. String lights also look good when they are strung between trees, around a pool or hot tub, and along a fence. However, if you don’t have two points to attach them to, it may be a bit tricky to install this type of backyard lighting. Working with electricity is dangerous, and it is vital to have wiring that is up to building code to ensure that the electrical box isn’t overloaded.

I installed little hooks along the patio ceiling so that I can remove them if I want to change them out. There are many string lights that offer a more seasonal touch, such as little flip flops and mini snowmen, so I can “decorate” my patio without a lot of effort.

Other Outdoor Lighting Methods Include:

  • Accent lighting
  • Door lighting
  • Lighting water features
  • Outdoor string lights
  • Outdoor wall lighting
  • Path light fixures
  • Pool lighting
  • Spot lighting
  • Strip lighting
  • Wall lights

Bigger is Not Necessarily Better

When things are outside, they tend to look smaller than they actually are. But it is still possible to get fixtures that are much too big for their space. I want my fixtures to be a nice focal point, but I don’t want them to steal the show. They are simply accent pieces that throw a little extra light where I need it.

To get the look right, fixtures should never block anything. For example, if the fixture above my front door is hanging too low and blocking the door’s frame, it won’t look right and is therefore too big. Any fixture above a doorway or window should always sit above them.

Another way to use large fixtures properly to accent the exterior of your home is to use only one fixture if it is big. It also helps to avoid shedding too much light where I don’t want it.

home fixtures

Fixtures Should Match the Style of Your Home

When deciding on the style of fixture, I will be choosing; I want it to match the style of my home. Even if I love a particular style of fixture, it may clash with the style of my home, so it just won’t give me the curb appeal that I want. It may be necessary to try a few different ones to find the perfect fit.

When choosing fixtures for the exterior of my home, I found that many websites offered a free trial period or would even allow me to “add” fixtures to my home virtually so I could see what they looked like.

This was a great way to get the perfect fixtures without first installing them and then finding out that I didn’t like how they looked with my home. Some lighting companies even offer demos and have expert consultants that will help me to pick out the perfect lighting for my home.

Another way to get the perfect fixtures for your home is to browse similar homes online or in a magazine to see what other homeowners did to make their homes look good.

Certain finishes will look great with specific colors, while others will clash. For example, red and gray complement each other, so if you have a gray house, red fixtures would really pop-and vice versa. If you don’t want your fixtures to be a focal point, you may want to go for a more subdued hue like a darker shade of gray.

There are also different styles to think about. For my modern styled home, an antique style of lamp probably would look out of place. It is best to try and pair a modern style of fixture with a more modern home.

What is the Maximum Wattage Of My Exterior Fixtures?

When choosing light fixtures, you need to think about how much light you want them to emit. Different fixtures will have specific wattage allowances, so it’s important to pay attention to those.

If I want my exterior lights to be very bright, I want fixtures that will allow me to put 100-watt bulbs in them. If the fixtures I chose only allow me to put in 40-watt bulbs in them, I will not get enough light where I want it. For safety reasons, it is an absolute no-no to put a high wattage bulb into a fixture that specifies a low wattage bulb, so I have to choose fixtures that will let me use the wattage of bulbs that I want.

Fixtures that use multiple light bulbs, such as a sunburst style of fixture, the wattage will be much higher, so you may need to reduce each bulb’s wattage. This will help avoid overloading the wiring in your fixtures, which could cause your fuse box to trip every time you turn on your light.

Why I Get a Second Opinion

For help deciding what fixtures to get, it can be a good idea to get friends and family to put in their two cents. Getting the opinion of people you trust is a great way to see your home from someone else’s perspective. It doesn’t mean that I have to take their advice, but it can sure help me to make up my mind and decide on the fixtures that will look best with my home.

Rope Lighting

Rope lighting is a great way to illuminate the backyard. They do have the potential to look tacky if not installed right, though, so it’s important to use them the right way. They are perfect for lighting decks, pagodas and can even be wrapped around spindles of a porch.

They are a creative and fun way to illuminate pools and along walkways ass well. They come in a variety of colors, but the most common color used in backyards is white because it offers a clean, soft glow without being “too much.” White lighting goes well with everything, and some rope lighting is even battery-operated, which is convenient when installed where there is no outlet.

Outdoor lighting is an expensive and easy way to update the look of my home. There are so many options to choose from, too, so I can really have fun with the style and design of my fixtures.


Pendant and Lantern Lights

Pendant lights and lantern-style light fixtures are a great option for decks that have a ceiling to hang them from. They are also ideal for hanging around unattached structures such as gazebos and pagodas. They are often battery-operated as well, so there is no need for an outlet.

Lighting Warranty Coverage and Customer Care

One last thing to consider is what kind of warranty or maintenance-free options the fixtures I chose come with. It is always best to buy something that has a little extra coverage if they are defective or get damaged. I like to choose a company that has great customer service, and that values me as a customer rather than one that is cheap but doesn’t offer me anything over and above the product I bought.


We hope you enjoyed this article on outdoor lighting ideas. For more great landscape lighting ideas and tips, be sure to check out some of our other blogs. We hope to continue to bring you outdoor lighting ideas to inspire your spring backyard makeover in the future as well.


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